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U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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26:0404(51)NG - FUSE, NAGE and Navy, Naval Underwater Systems Center, Newport, RI -- 1987 FLRAdec NG

[ v26 p404 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 26 FLRA No. 51
                                            Case No. 0-NG-1349
                         I.  Statement of the Case
    This case is before the Authority because of a negotiability appeal
 filed under section 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service
 Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute).  The case concerns the
 negotiability of the following proposal:
                               II.  Proposal
       No electrical or electronic timekeeping devices will be used in
       accessing office work area on second floor area of Building PO-40.
                             III.  Background
    The location addressed by the proposal is the Combat Control Systems
 Department, where a sophisticated electronic security system has been
 installed.  This area houses a cryptography room, where coded messages
 related to national security are sent and received.  The information
 handled by employees in this area ranges up to the "top secret"
 classification and all employees are required to have security
    The security system requires the insertion of a "key card" which
 opens the door to enter the area.  The "key card" activates a mechanism
 which records the time of entrance.  Because each "key card" is coded,
 it can be ascertained whose card was used to enter the area.  However,
 the card is not used to leave the premises.
                       IV.  Positions of the Parties
    The Agency argues that the proposal is not negotiable because it
 prevents management from exercising its right to determine policies and
 methods to assure internal security in violation of section 7106(a)(1)
 of the Statute.  The Agency states that the electronic security system
 has the sole purpose of limiting access to the area by unauthorized
 personnel.  According to the Agency, the system is not intended as a
 timekeeping device to record arrivals and departures of employees.
    The Union states that the purpose of the proposal is "to maintain the
 status quo of no time recording devices" to monitor arrival and
 departure times of employees.  Petition for Review at 1.
                               V.  Analysis
    An agency's right to determine its internal security practices
 includes the right to determine what is necessary to safeguard its
 physical property against internal or external risks, to prevent
 improper or unauthorized disclosure of information, or to prevent the
 disruption of the Agency's activities or operations.  See American
 Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 32 and Office of
 Personnel Management, Washington, D.C., 14 FLRA 6 (1984) (Proposal 2).
    In this case, the Agency's decision to establish and maintain an
 electronic security system limiting access to the work area to
 authorized personnel is clearly a measure related to its internal
 practices.  See American Federation of Government Employees, Local 12,
 AFL-CIO and Department of Labor, 17 FLRA 674 (1985) (Proposal 6).  The
 proposal at issue would limit the Agency's choice of restrictive
 measures to guard against the entrance of unauthorized personnel to a
 specific work area to those which do not monitor arrival and departure
 times.  The Union's proposal would therefore, bar the use of the
 existing security system, thus violating the Agency's right to determine
 its internal security practices.  See American Federation of Government
 Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 987 and Department of the Air Force, Warner
 Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, 24 FLRA No.
 91 (1986).
    This case is distinguishable from the so called "time clock" cases
 where the Authority has determined that an agency must negotiate over
 the use of time clocks.  See Planners Estimators and Progressman
 Association, Local No. 8 and Department of the Navy, Charleston Naval
 Shipyard, Charleston, South Carolina, 13 FLRA 455 (1983).  Here there is
 no apparent intention by the Agency to use the system as a timekeeping
 measure, particularly since use of the "key card" is not necessary to
 leave the secured premises.  The sole purpose of the system is to
 restrict the entrance of unauthorized personnel and to maintain
 documentation of entry for security reasons.
                              VI.  Conclusion
    We find that the Union's proposal directly interferes with the
 Agency's right to determine its internal security practices under
 section 1706(a)(1) and is therefore outside the duty to bargain.
                                VII.  Order
    The Union's petition for review is dismissed.
    Issued, Washington, D.C., March 31, 1987.
                                       /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman
                                       /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member
                                       /s/ Jean McKee, Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY